BOND REPORT: Treasury Yield Curve Reverts To Flattening As Investors Hunt For Bargains

By Sunny OhFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Long-dated yields fell while short-term yields rose Thursday, after investors waiting on the sidelines plowed into long-end of the bond market.

What are Treasurys doing?

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Short-term maturities came under pressure. The two-year note yield was up 1.4 basis points to 1.877%, its highest level since Sept. 2008.

The 10-year Treasury note yield fell 1.7 basis points to 2.483%, while the 30-year bond yield fell 4.2 basis points to 2.834%.

Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields.

What's driving markets?

After the 10-year Treasury yield touched 2.50%, modest bond-buying pushed long-term yields down as overseas investors looked to buy debt at more attractive prices. That flattened the yield curve, the line tracing out a bond's maturities and its yields.

Since the beginning of the week, the curve has steepened amid the tax bill's rapid progress, but market participants had doubts whether the trend would prove short-lived. Investors care about the flexing of the yield curve, as it can signal the bond market's expectations for the economy and the Federal Reserve's actions.

With most of the tax bill out of the way, portfolio managers may also be rushing out to complete year-end purchases to match their portfolio's duration with their benchmark bond indexes. Thin trading ahead of the holidays have kept investors on edge as purchases of large blocks of government paper can move markets more than expected.

What did market participants say?

"There was decent bargain hunting once again as 10-year yield approached 2.5%," wrote Tom di Galoma, managing director of Treasurys trading for Seaport Global Securities. "Year-end momentum and illiquidity seems to be a substantial factor at the moment."

What else is on investors' radar?

Congress will need to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government open until mid-January. The Republicans have scheduled a vote for Thursday to pass the stopgap bill.

New claims for unemployment benefits rose 20,000 to 245,000 ( in the week ending Dec. 16. Third-quarter GDP was cut to 3.2% from 3.3%, thanks to downward revisions to consumption spending. But some economists were encouraged by the pace of growth, leading some to pencil in higher forecasts for fourth-quarter GDP.

See: Third-quarter GDP revised down slightly to 3.2% rate (

Barometers of local economic activity were mixed. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index ( to 0.15 in November from 0.76 in the previous month. The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing survey ( to 26.2 in December from 22.7 in November.

What other assets are on the move?

The Bank of Japan ( rates and its policy stance unchanged after its Thursday policy meeting, frustrating the expectations of investors who had speculated the central bank would lift its yield targets in a bid to finally ease off ultra-accommodative monetary policy.

Japan's 10-year government bond yield added a basis point to 0.054%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 21, 2017 16:38 ET (21:38 GMT)